Below is a news summary by Ian Braun, an Entertainment Management student at Missouri State University.
(from Sports Business Journal, April 29, 2012) The MLB and SiriusXM satellite radio have finally ended their four year standoff, partially at least. The SiriusXM app on smartphones allows fans to watch thirty MLB channels online, one for each team in the league.
In 2004, the MLB signed an 11-year deal worth $650 million to be carried exclusively on XM’s platform. That is where the dispute begins. In 2008, Sirius and XM merged. The MLB was then not willing to share exclusivity. SiriusXM has 21.9 million subscribers, but it’s unclear how many of them are considered XM subscribers and how many of them are considered Sirius subscribers. Finally, the two sides have been able to work out a deal that gives Sirius’ online smartphone subscribers access to all thirty channels.
“We want our content to be in a business model that people pay for and to give them the best authorized organic content we can give them wherever they want it,” Greenstein said, President and Chief Content Officer of the company. “We want it to be seamless to take it from your home, to your car, to your iPhone, to your iPad, to anywhere you are, without ever leaving our brand.”
SiriusXM started streaming NBA and NFL games last season, NASCAR events last month, PGA tour events, English Premier matches, and even NHL Stanley Cup playoff games last month. So it is no surprise that the MLB and SiriusXM saw the importance of rearranging their exclusivity rights with just Sirius.
So what exactly does SiriusXM offer to its MLB fan subscribers in terms of service? At this time, subscribers pay $199 per year for the All Access plan that allows them to stream audio, but not video. For the time being, Sirius is interested in streaming audio only. It does not plan to seek rights to stream video with it. “We see a lot of people competing and knocking each other all over the place in video,” Greenstein said. “We like our model of keeping it under one umbrella wherever you are.” So far, it is a strategy that seems to be paying off greatly for SiriusXM.